I was supposed to be interviewed for a show on Sirius Satellite Radio last Wednesday for a story it is doing on mothers over 35. There was a mix-up in the scheduling and I never got the call. Boo! I did all this research and wore my purple, dangling interview earrings. I know, I know, it’s radio. You won’t be able to see my amazing, chandelier earrings, but they make me feel good. And if I feel good then I thought I would sound good.
Radio — needs to sound good.
And, all of this is not to mention how I mentally reviewed the last 16 or so years of my life and how my choices have affected my life. Now I have no where to put this information that’s still tossing around in my head keeping me up at night. Not that I need anything else to keep me up at night — two kids with massive ear infections crying (make that SCREAMING) out in pain at 3:00 a.m. every night just isn’t enough for me. I need to have *thoughts* keeping me awake at night too.
In preparation for the interview, I read the “Washington Post” story, “More children are being born to women over 35 than to teens, Pew study finds.” Good, I say. Good, good. I also read the Pew study which goes into great detail about the survey it conducted.
What I take from it is that women are choosing when they have kids. I for one, had no interest in having a baby when I was in my 20s. (Here come the thoughts streaming around in my head.) The mere thought of it terrified me. To death. Ask my friends, they’ll tell you. I think some of them thought I’d never have kids. I was married for 12 years before we had a child. I think it actually shocked some of my friends.
It’s not that I didn’t want kids. Not at all. Quite the opposite. I always new that I wanted to have a family. To be a mother was a welcomed part of my plan. I just wanted to do it on my time.
I’m glad we waited.
My 20s were filled with career development, freedom, an open schedule, dates, and travel, travel, travel. Wish I could have done more traveling. I didn’t want to wait until my kids were in college to do all that I was able to experience in my 20s. Now that that is behind me I have no thirsting desires (well, maybe to be able to travel again). I know that I did it, I lived it and now is my time to experience things with my babies. To watch them grow, to play with them, to stay home on Saturday night because we’re so tired that even if we didn’t have kids we’d still be going to bed early just to sleep.
I’m also glad we didn’t wait any longer.
There is a risk in waiting to have children. There is a true biological clock that prevents many of us from bearing children because we waited too long. It’s heartbreaking to see it happen: loving, deserving women, not able to conceive naturally — or at all.
And, there’s the extra medical “attention” you get as an “older mother” from the “specialist.” There’s the genetic counseling, and tons of tests. It’s nerve racking to be an older mother and have the added worry that something might go wrong with your pregnancy, or be a health issue to your child — all because of your age.
I had my first baby at age 34 and my second, last year, at age 37. They seem like the perfect ages to me, but if I had to do it again I might have started two years earlier. It would have given me more opportunity to get both children in before I hit 35 (thus, avoiding all those extra tests and worry.) And, I would have more room to have more children, should I choose, before I hit 40.
Then, there’s the news that Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, is 3-months pregnant at age 47. This gives women hope, but I hope it doesn’t make too many women who are contemplating a family wait longer. Just because Preston was able to conceive into her late 40s doesn’t mean you will be able to also. Remember, it’s a risk to wait.
What do you think about the trend moving to women over 35?
- Read the full “Washington Post” article
- The Pew Study summary from the Pew Research Center
- The Pew Study, full report (PDF)
- Kelly Preston Pregnant at Age 47 announcement
- CNN’s “Pregnant at 47: Can I do that?” article